Nelson to lead 2014 February Meetings at MC

Nelson to lead 2014 February Meetings at MC

Dec. 17, 2013
Contact: Chloe Kennedy, Assistant Director of Communications

The Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, preacher, workshop leader, consultant and writer, will be the guest speaker for Maryville College’s 2014 February Meetings, scheduled for Feb. 24-25.

Nelson, a third-generation Presbyterian pastor, is the director of the Presbyterian Church (USA) Office of Public Witness in Washington, D.C. The Office of Public Witness is a prophetic office of the denomination and implements the social justice agenda of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) through advocacy with the executive and legislative branches of the federal government.

Nelson will develop his theme of “Speaking Truth to Power: The Work of Justice in a World of Violence” during two presentations given Mon., Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. and Tues., Feb. 25 at 1 p.m. Both presentations will be held in the Clayton Center for the Arts’ Harold and Jean Lambert Recital Hall.

On Sun., Feb. 23, Nelson will preach during morning worship at 10 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church in Oak Ridge. At 7 p.m., he will speak at New Providence Presbyterian Church in Maryville.

“In a time when many people have grown cynical about the political process, J. Herbert Nelson is a voice of faithful engagement in democracy – empowering Christians to work toward a society of fairness, opportunity and compassion,” said the Rev. Dr. Anne D. McKee, campus minister at Maryville College.

Nelson holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and urban studies. He is also a third generation graduate of Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary. In 2002, he earned a doctor of ministry degree from Louisville Presbyterian Seminary, and his dissertation title was “A Community Based Model of an African American New Church Development in the Presbyterian Church (USA).”

Before going to Washington, Nelson served as founder/pastor of Liberation Community Presbyterian Church in Memphis, Tenn. Previously, he served as pastor of St. James Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, N.C. He is a featured conference preacher at Montreat, Mo Ranch, Highlands-Colorado and Massanetta Springs Conference Centers in the Presbyterian Church. His writings have appeared in Presbyterians Today and The Outlook. He is also a member of several boards and professional organizations.

During February Meetings, the College will also partner with Green Meadow United Methodist Church to present “FaithMarks,” a photographic gallery show exploring the intersection between spirituality and the art of tattoos. The show, which will include 22 large photographs and interpretive material, will be on display in Bartlett Hall on the Maryville College campus.

Held annually at the College since 1877, February Meetings have offered the College and local community an opportunity to come together to consider questions of faith and responsible living in the world. In years past, guest speakers and special music have been highlights of the condensed lecture series, which is open to all members of the College community, people in the area and visitors, including the College’s Board of Church Visitors.

For more information on February Meetings, contact McKee at 865.981.8299 or

Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the Fall 2017 semester is 1,181.